Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, led by Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Ranking Member Jim Langevin (D-RI), passed their Subcommittee mark for the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act. This language will now move to the full House Armed Services Committee for consideration next week. The Subcommittee's mark is available here. Below is are Congresswoman Stefanik’s remarks as prepared for delivery today, followed by a summary of this legislation.
I am very pleased to welcome everyone here today for the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities Mark Up for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
I would like to begin by thanking all of the members of the subcommittee for their active and energetic participation in the hearings, briefings, and congressional delegations that we have held during the past several months.
We have taken a hard look at some very important issues within the subcommittee’s jurisdiction, and we have done so in a truly collaborative and bipartisan manner. For their hard work, I thank each of my colleagues on the subcommittee.
The Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee mark this year focuses heavily on providing for stronger cyber warfare capabilities, safeguarding technological superiority, enabling our Special Operations Forces across the globe, providing resources and authorities to counter terrorism and unconventional warfare threats, and energizing programs and activities that counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
I am especially proud of what this subcommittee has been able to achieve this year in the areas of cyber warfare and cyber operations. Our emphasis on cyber carries three broad themes:
First, it increases congressional oversight of cyber operations by including H.R. 2807, a bill introduced by myself, Ranking Member Langevin, Chairman Thornberry, and Ranking Member Smith, that will ensure Congress is kept fully informed of sensitive military cyber operations.
Second, we bolster international partnerships for cyber warfare to counter aggressive adversaries such as Russia, China, and North Korea. This includes support for our NATO partners and those within the Asia-Pacific region to not only enhance partnered cyber capabilities and information sharing, but also to counter and mitigate adversarial propaganda efforts and information warfare campaigns.
And third, the mark continues to build and enhance our own U.S. cyber warfare capabilities and activities, principally within U.S. Cyber Command – but also across the Services and within the Intelligence Community – including resiliency of Department of Defense networks, weapons systems, and supply chains.
The mark before our members today also reinforces counterterrorism and unconventional warfare capabilities by fully resourcing U.S. Special Operations Command’s programs and activities, including ongoing efforts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Eastern Europe. And it strengthens congressional oversight of ongoing CT and unconventional warfare operations and programs, including various Intelligence activities.
To provide for the families of Special Operations Forces, we grant permanent authority for family support programs within U.S. Special Operations Command, a proven program that now merits codification to ensure continued support for families and the force.
The mark supports Defense innovation to ensure technological superiority and overmatch for our warfighters against current and future threats. We also include provisions that would advance hypersonics weapons research, development, and transitional efforts within the Department.
Before proceeding, I would like to take a moment to extend my gratitude to my Ranking Member, Congressman Jim Langevin of Rhode Island. Jim, it has been a true pleasure working with you on all of these important issues, and I look forward to continuing our bipartisan efforts together.
I would also like to thank the committee staff who have worked so tirelessly on this mark, including Staff Lead Peter Villano, Professional Staff Members Kevin Gates and Lindsay Kavanaugh, our Clerk Nevada Schadler, and our Fellow Dr. Mark Pepple."
The ETC proposal is a vital part of the NDAA through which the Committee conducts oversight of counterterrorism programs and policy, special operations forces, defense-wide science and technology, cyber operations and programs, strategic communications and information operations, related Intelligence programs and activities, countering weapons of mass destruction, homeland defense, and consequence management.
Specifically, the ETC proposal:
Strengthens cyber warfare capabilities and enhances congressional oversight:
- Prioritizes the readiness of U.S. Cyber Command, cyber mission forces, and cyber warfare tools and capabilities, including initiatives to strengthen the cyber workforce;
- Along with the full committee, addresses military service unfunded requirements for cyber warfare;
- Enhances resiliency of DoD networks, weapons systems, supply chains, and capabilities;
- Strengthens congressional oversight of sensitive cyber military operations and cyber warfare tools and capabilities;
- Bolsters international partnerships for cyber warfare to counter Russian, Chinese, and North Korean aggression, cyber, and information warfare threats.
Reinforces counterterrorism and unconventional warfare capabilities:
- Fully resources and authorizes U.S. Special Operations Command programs and activities, including ongoing efforts in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Eastern Europe;
- Grants permanent authority for family support programs within Special Operations Command;
- Strengthens congressional oversight of ongoing counterterrorism and unconventional warfare operations and programs, including Intelligence activities.
Supports defense innovation, emerging technologies, and countering weapons of mass destruction programs:
- Fully supports innovation efforts of the Strategic Capabilities Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental to ensure technological superiority and overmatch for our warfighters against current and future threats;
- Advances hypersonic weapons research, development, and transitional efforts within DoD;
- Recommends to the Chairman fully funding the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Chemical and Biological Defense program, and the Cooperative Threat Reduction program to combat weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
- Along with the full committee, addresses military service unfunded requirements for operations within a WMD environment.